WCC hoops tournament preview

The conference tournament schedule rolls on tonight with the start of the West Coast Conference tourney in Las Vegas. The Gonzaga Bulldogs have owned this tournament for years and not surprisingly, they’re big favorite to capture to conference crown again.

The Bulldogs finished with the best record in the conference during the regular season and earned the top seed in the tournament. That means they receive a bye straight to the third round and won’t play their first tournament game until Sunday.

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The Bulldogs are the defending tournament champs and have won nine of the last 11 West Coast Conference tourneys. Throw in the fact that they were 12-2 in the conference this season and it’s no wonder they’re a -175 tourney favorite at Bovada.

Kicking off the conference tournament tonight is a pair of games with No. 5 seed Loyola Marymount vs. No. 8 seed Pepperdine and No. 6 seed San Diego vs. No. 7 seed Santa Clara.

The Lions are a big 9.5-point favorite versus Pepperdine at BetUS, but they can’t take the Waves too lightly. Pepperdine was a lame 3-11 in the conference this season, but one of those wins came against the Lions. The Waves upset the Lions 79-75 as a 3-point home underdog back on January 9 and in their last eight games against them they are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS.

Tonight’s other West Coast tourney clash between Santa Clara and San Diego is expected to be much closer, as the Toreros are only a 3.5-point favorite at BetUS.

The Toreros may be the favorite, but they head into the tournament on an awful run, with only two wins in their last 13 games. The Broncos haven’t been much better lately though, with three wins in their last 15 games.

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The Toreros and the Broncos last met up on Feb. at San Diego, when Santa Clara pulled off a surprising 59-43 upset as an 8-point underdog. Earlier in the season San Diego defeated Santa Clara 55-46 on the road as a 3.5-point favorite, but in their last four matchups overall the Broncos are 3-1 SU and ATS.

The winner of tonight’s games move on to the second round of the tournament on Saturday. The winner of Pepperdine vs. Loyola Marymount will face San Francisco, while the winner of San Diego vs. Santa Clara gets Portland.